GOVERNMENT AXES WEST INDIAN DRYWOOD TERMITE PROGRAM

The onus is now on homeowners to manage any West Indian drywood termite incursions themselves.

 

After more than 50 years of successful control and containment measures, the Queensland government has put a stop to its West Indian drywood termite (Cryptotermes brevis) eradication program. Homeowners who discover C. brevis activity will no longer have fumigation treatments paid for by the Government, meaning they face costs of between $30-40,000 to fumigate an average size house.

C. brevis is a notifiable introduced pest under Queensland legislation. Everyone, whether a building owner, pest manager or a tradesperson has an obligation to report C. brevis as part of the Biosecurity Act 2014. Termite species are identified using the soldier caste, but with soldier drywood termites difficult to find, their droppings (frass) are used for the initial identification. Upon discovery of suspected C. brevis activity, frass samples must be sent to the Department of Agriculture and Fisheries for identification.

If the frass samples are identified as the native drywood termite Cryptotermes primus, no further action is required. If the frass is positively identified as C. brevis, the Department of Agriculture and Fisheries will contact the building owner to organise a site inspection. The owner may choose to treat or replace the affected timber, or opt for fumigation, which is to be funded themselves.

Although treatment is no longer funded by the Government, suspected West Indian drywood termite activity must still be reported to the Department of Agriculture and Fisheries within 24 hours of discovery. Photos of frass should be emailed to widt@daf.gov.au or the finding reported to the call centre on 13 25 23.

More drywood termite information.